How Disconnected Are They?

by Jay Deragon on 12/11/2008

Sometimes you wonder why business leaders don’t see the obvious. Then again when they do see the obvious they still don’t think things should change nor do they want to suggest things need to change.

Leaders approaching social media as a silo initiative seems to be the mindset of many leaders who think they can beat other divisions within their own company, Go figure, obviously they’ve never heard of sub-optimization and its related implications.

A recent exchange with a division leader within a Fortune 500 Company went like this:

  • Leader of Division A said: We’re thinking about starting our own blog.
  • My question: What about the other division leaders?
  • Leader of Division A said: They don’t influence what we do.
  • My question: Do you serve similar customers?
  • Leader of Division A said:Yes but with different products
  • My question:So if your product works and the others don’t how does that reflect on the company
  • Leader of Division A said: We’re concerned about customers who use our products, not other division products
  • My question: Shouldn’t you and the other division leaders get together and decide how the company will communicate with the market?
  • Leader of Division A said: Not all our division leaders think they need to have a blog. They have their own marketing initiatives and I don’t influence their decisions
  • My question: Who leads all the divisions?
  • Leader of Division A: Several people on the executive committee.
  • My question: Is anyone in the executive committee responsible for the overall use of social media?
  • Leader of Division A: Not that I am aware of
  • My question: Do you think somebody from the executive committee ought to be?
  • Leader of Division A: Not necessarily because then somebody would then be telling me how and what to do with my social media initiative for the benefit of other divisions. Look I understand where you are going and why but it is useless to even try and get us all on the same page. We’re a big company and every division is measured by their own results. Every division leader has their own ideas about how to achieve those results. Our bonuses depend on how well we do in reaching those results. get it?
  • My response: Yes, there isn’t one company yet there is one brand. All the companies serve the customer but never in a coordinated fashion rather a splintered effort. The customer doesn’t know who is in charge of what but when dissatisfied with overall service they simply distrust the company while you say it isn’t your fault.
  • Leader of Division A: In a funny way your right. Now how can you help us with our initiative.
  • My response: I can’t

Social computing is not a silo initiative for any business. Rather it is a systemic change to everything a business does and with everyone they do it with. What would you have said?

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